TV Futures


Jane Lawrence TV-Bay Magazine
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When I was younger my dad used to encourage me to be a Jack of all trades and a master of none. One of those clich© things parents hand down to their children. However, as I have grown and gone through different stages of education I have found this little piece of wisdom has followed me. Don't get me wrong, being amazing at one thing is a great skill to have, but for me having a good understanding of everything is also vital. We've been told that in the television industry it helps to be an all-rounder: troubleshooting equipment, knowing how to correct camera positioning and even knowing how to film to help make life easier for an editor. I have learnt all these things and more from my course, which I believe, and please excuse my cheesy nod to my dad here, have made me a Jack of all trades and a master of none (but that is fine because I'm still a second year student).

So with that in mind, I look forward to the future "post-degree" and what jobs I would like to get into. I have always been interested in producing and project management but on a recent trip to the IMG Studios in London I stumbled, completely by chance, over a job that I think is perfect. The Preditor. Now, don't be fooled by the name, I'm not talking about top of the food chain animals here. Although, they are aptly named for the role they play in the industry.

I've learnt that the Preditor is an industry term for Producer Editors or Self-shooting Producers. In other words, the triple threat, producing, shooting and editing their way to the top. The Preditor model has become more frequently used for a variety of broadcasting situations such as; news organisations, reality TV and sports broadcasters, much like IMG. Offering a more flexible method of production than we have seen before the model allows for a small crew (a presenter and a preditor) to be transported anywhere with relatively cheap costs compared to a traditional television crew.
During my visit, I met not one but three Preditors, each working for different facets of IMG covering, Golf, Football and Cycling broadcast around the world. After explaining the role of the Preditor one of them had to run to the airport to catch a flight to Thailand for a cycling event, this shows just how in demand and busy these jet setters are.

Another one of the Preditors is alumni from my own course, BSc Television and Broadcasting here at the University of Portsmouth. Alex Mott graduated in 2014 and made his way through running jobs and then took on the 'Advantage Graduate Scheme' at IMG. In late 2015 he got the role of Assistant Producer that he now still holds, and he talked to us about his role at R&A (A governing body in golf) as a Preditor. He really made a point that the university course we are on really helps to mould students perfectly for the role.

After hearing from each of the Assistant Producers, what appealed to me the most about the role was the independence and creative freedom of it. Not only could you produce your own ideas and film them the way you wanted, you also got to edit them and being able to have that kind of freedom is something I thought I would only find in my own outside work, rather than in a television environment. Another selling point of the role is that you get to travel the world and do what you love. Obviously, this job is made for young people with no big ties who can drop everything and travel at a moment's notice. But the adventure of seeing new places really called to me, not only that but getting to film it all as well.

So, after reflecting on the information presented at the IMG Open Day, I have begun to see parallels between the responsibilities of a Preditor and the work that I have undertaken on my course. For example for a unit this year I was VT Director for a show and I ended up editing the majority of the VTs as well. Having the ability to do this to a high standard is something I have learnt in the last two years. If you had asked me to touch editing software two years ago I would have had a small breakdown, but now I enjoy being creative within my edits and have a greater understanding of the software available to me.

As well as this in the past year I have greatly improved my ability to produce quality content, creating a ten minute podcast, two live twenty minute shows and a client project. I have even started to create a podcast and radio show separate to my course. Therefore, I feel my course has not only given me the all round skills to become a Preditor but also the confidence in myself to pursue a career as one. It is clear to me that my course has given me the necessary experience and skills that I can apply to a professional role within the media industry.


Tags: iss126 | tvfutures | ccitv | portsmouth | preditors | Jane Lawrence
Contributing Author Jane Lawrence

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